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Federal judge to permanently lift Florida voter registration restrictions

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:52 EDT
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A federal judge has said the he will permanently remove recently enacted voter registration restrictions in the state of Florida. According to Talking Points Memo, Judge Robert L. Hinkle has declared that he will grant a motion to permanently strike down the new rules once the state of Florida has dropped its case against the federal government in U.S. appeals court.

Voting rights activists have welcomed the decision, which makes permanent an temporary injunction that Hinkle granted in May, in which Hinkle called the restrictions forbidding third party groups from organizing to register voters “harsh and impractical” and said they would impose unnecessary burdens on organizations trying to ensure voter participation.

New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice has issued a press release calling the ruling “a decisive victory for Florida voters.”

“Florida’s anti-voter law created impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who have been bringing fellow Floridians into our democratic process for over 72 years,” explained Deirdre MacNab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, one of the three groups who filed suit against the state in December of 2011. “Thanks to today’s ruling, we can finally put these roadblocks behind us and concentrate on getting Floridians registered to vote. We are grateful the court recognized that the Constitution does not tolerate these types of barriers to civic participation and voter registration.”

The League of Women Voters was joined by Rock the Vote and the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund in the suit, which was filed separately from a Justice Department inquiry into the stringent new regulations, which have been revealed by a former Republican Party member to be an effort to “keep black people from voting” by conservative Republicans.

You can read Judge Hinkle’s ruling here (.pdf).

You can read Hinkle’s decision from May, embedded below:

Florida Voter Registration

(image via Shutterstock)

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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